Most of our understanding of Father God comes from our experiences with our earthly fathers. If we had a kind, loving earthly father, we tend to see our heavenly Father the same. But if our earthly father was distant, unkind, or absent, we have a harder time seeing how God loves us. When our church ministers to people who struggled with their dads, we ask them to ask the Father what He thinks of them. The answers range from “ashamed” to “unworthy” to “He can’t see me.” These are lies planted by the enemy so God’s people will stay in bondage. How can you be free to see God as a good Father?
Forgive your earthly father. Be specific. Ask the Lord to bring to mind any incidents that would cause you to harbor unforgiveness in your heart. Forgiveness sets us free, it doesn’t excuse behavior. Ask God to deal with the pain of the past, to reveal His truth to your heart and mind, and to help you to forgive. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph 4:32)
Let God deal with injustice. If you were abused, ask Father God to take away the burden of the injustice and let Him carry that burden. Picture yourself handing Him a list of offenses. We can hang onto the past thinking that if we let go no one will set things straight, but that’s not true. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’says the Lord.”
Ask God to reveal any lies you are believing and to replace them with His truth. Sometime we go through life believing as truth what other people say about us. If unkind words are spoken to us as children, eventually the lie becomes our truth. That lie will go from our head to our heart. If you ask Him, the Father will show you what lies you have believed, and He will also tell you what is true, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Believe that God wants restoration in our lives. Pastor Jack Hayford shared the following story in his article How Father God Feels About You, when he was teaching on the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:
I was teaching from this passage of Scripture in Seattle some 30 years ago, and as I did, there was a sweet move of the Holy Spirit, as God was making hearts sensitive to the greatness of His love. The Lord so forcibly brought a picture to my mind, I had to share it. I described what I saw, not knowing anyone in the audience. At the end of the meeting, a woman approached me and said, “That was me, Pastor Hayford.” She began to unbutton the cuff of her blouse sleeve and pushed it up, revealing horribly ugly gashes on her wrist.
What the Lord had given me was this: “There is someone in this room who, in the past, attempted to take your own life, and the scars on your wrist have become so shameful to you, you hide them. But like the father robed the prodigal son, the Lord wants to robe you with a new sense of esteem in His presence, that you would never be ashamed again. And rather than scars of shame, those scars would become your testimony-marks of God’s great triumph in your life.”
“Several years ago,” the woman said to me, “I nearly succeeded in taking my life. It was a time of desperation,” and she explained the dilemma she had faced. “I would have died except that someone found me. Later, I came to Christ, and I knew I was forgiven not only for my past sins, but also for that attempt at suicide. But until this moment, I’ve always felt so ashamed of these scars that mark that episode of my life.”
Now her face was aglow. “I’m the person you were speaking about, Pastor Hayford. And I know the Lord has clothed me with something today that I’ve never before seen so clearly. I’ll never be ashamed of the past again.”
Ask the Father again how He sees you. You are unashamed, worthy, and loved.
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